The digital world is a moving target and one must be nimble enough to pivot based on constant change. Lately Google, has been showing us that exactly. Just as you were finally deciding to accept the fact that Google removed sidebar ads, Google decided to throw something new in the equation: “An Experimental Podium”. An SEO and social hybrid that is giving front page exposure on keyword searches.
Let’s dig deeper- Internet, meet “An Experimental Podium”.
As of right now, this product is being exclusively used to “hear directly from US presidential candidates in real time on Google” accordingly to Google’s landing page dedicated to this new tool.
So now you might be thinking, “I’m not a presidential candidate so this has nothing to do with my digital strategy”. Sorry to burst your bubble, but our prediction is that this is going to be something so much more. The page also reads, “In the future we plan to make it available to other prominent figures and organizations.”
We have discovered that Google has already been testing the water with local businesses like “A Healthy Choice Massage and Day Spa”.
With that being said, it is logical to assume that this platform is eventually going to be expanded to and used by all businesses alike. To what extent? We don’t know, only time can tell. You can get on the waiting list with us here.
What exactly is this feature?
It’s a new addition to search results specifically content focused that provides a snippet of real-time information for consumers searching for that specific individual (or company). It allows for businesses and influencers to post directly on Google’s search engine results page.
“Creating content is fast and simple, and once published, posts will appear instantly in search results related to the candidate. Each post can also be shared on popular social networks, amplifying the message even further.”
Our first impression was that it felt like a twitter feed implanted into Google’s SERP. Although it does give us a “social network” vibe, let’s be clear: there is no networking and you can’t like, comment or follow.
It seems to be a new place for Google to directly host real-time content specifically for self-promotion.
What does it look like?
We’ve seen these experimental platform "posts" show up in two ways:
2. A horizontal carousel in the middle of search results, for a local search query such as, “engagement rings buffalo”:
You are able to share it on social media sites.
and it lands to a "google homepage" like this:
As you can see, it does feel like Google jumped the social network bandwagon again (RIP Google+, we won't miss you) BUT the key difference is that you CAN'T like, comment or interact with the content directly besides sharing.
We would also like to mention, that although we are tempted to call these new additions “posts” a Google representative has confirmed that there is no set name yet. It’s seriously, that new.
As of now Google claims to not plan on charging for this feature which allows businesses and influencers post directly to search results. Although it has only been rolled out to the chosen ones, we are skeptical of that statement. After all, search is a very competitive world.
This new change just points further to the evidence that Google is becoming more fine tuned on providing users distinct and exact responses within their dynamic SERP. Although this feature is still an "experiment", we can’t wait to be involved in the future of this entirely new format for search results.